Jerusalem in color

When you walk into a Ruby-designed home, the first thing that strikes you are the colors.

jerusbedroom 298 (photo credit: Eyal Izhar)
jerusbedroom 298
(photo credit: Eyal Izhar)
Ruby and Jay Karzen are a couple who have made their mark in Israel since making aliya twenty years ago. He is a pulpit rabbi who organizes bar and bat mitzva celebrations for visitors from abroad and has been called "Jerusalem's bar mitzva king." She is an interior designer who has put her individual stamp on many apartments and is known for her innovative approach and ability to get things done. When you walk into a Ruby-designed home, the first thing that strikes you are the colors. The ubiquitous beige of so many "safe" color schemes does not seem to exist in Ruby's palette. But other soft colors - call them melon, peach, lilac or any other evocative name you like - are there in abundance. Like in this four-room "second home" apartment in Rehavia which is always ready for its owners or members of their family to occupy whenever they drop in for a visit from Chicago. The last renovation was done only two years ago and as usual Ruby worked in cooperation with the owners, guiding them until they reached a result to the joint satisfaction of all parties. Starting with the bedroom - which is a real talking-piece, Ruby laughs as she recalls the creation of the most romantic and over-the-top room she has ever done. "I've never seen another one like it," she says. The color scheme of the room is lilac and grey, with the double bed draped in a filmy chiffon backdrop matching the scalloped bed covers, the Roman folding shades and the shiny enamel finish of the fitted furniture. The rug is grey and a small chair is painted in the same lilac shade and upholstered in a silky grey fabric to match the carpet. "The owner is a woman of impeccable taste, and she wanted something a little different but wasn't sure what," recalls Ruby. "So we flipped through a book I have which I often use for clients, and when she picked this I was in shock." The same love of warm colors is evident in the lounge where a dominant feature is the niche Ruby created to fit a pink leather couch and a much-loved painting. "The room was rather rectangular and uninteresting so I built the niche into the back wall to add interest," she says. The painting was put into an intricate frame with shades of brown, gold and salmon-pink and the background color of the niche matched the frame. Completing the sitting area are two other couches which pick up the pink of the suede couch and add shades of grey and blue, with mix and match cushions linking the two kinds of upholstery. The pink sofa has two built-in side tables making the whole feature a particularly cozy place to sit. A glass coffee table completes the picture. Another niche contains a built-in display cabinet with glass shelves while the bottom part of this comes out and turns out to be a serving trolley on wheels. The very large dining table, seating twelve, is made of a black shiny material which looks like enamel. In fact almost all the furniture in the apartment has this finish. The chairs are upholstered in a small striped material and the melon pink drapes connect to the colors of the lounge. A crystal light fitting hangs over the table and a runner on the table relieves the expanse of black. There are two smaller bedrooms, one for the girls of the family and one for the boys, with color schemes to match. The girls' room has bunk beds and drapes in a pretty coral striped material hung in what she calls 'handkerchief' style, while the boys' room is predominantly blue. Because the rooms are relatively small, the four-door closets in both rooms actually conceal only two closets each. The kitchen is equipped with milk and meat sides which are almost mirror images of each other with a sink on each side set into black granite counter tops. The room is papered in a black, grey and silver washable paper and the white cupboards set off the hanging vines and trailing ivy to perfection. Off the kitchen is the balcony which can be transformed into a succa. Do you feel you own one of Israel's most beautiful homes? Please e-mail